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Chelsea predicted XI to face Derby County

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has already confirmed that he will leave Gary Cahill out of the starting XI to face Derby County in tomorrow night's League Cup quarter-final, which will mean a rare start for French starlet Kurt Zouma.

Cahill was rather fortunate not to be sent off against Hull City last weekend and incurred the wrath of Tigers boss Steve Bruce, although Mourinho is adamant that has nothing to do with the England defender's planned absence for the Pride Park clash.

Mourinho will go with Zouma because Cahill played two full games in just four days last week, in the hope of avoiding burnout ahead of a busy run of festive fixtures.

Room for rotation elsewhere

In an interview with Chelsea TV the Blues boss insisted he'll give Derby huge respect by selecting a very strong starting XI, but did concede that Ramires isn't ready to return in a starting capacity at this stage.

Mourinho said: “I will pick the best possible team,” Mourinho told Chelsea TV. “We have no reason to rest people, everybody goes. The only one that is not going is Cahill, but that is only because he played against Sporting Lisbon last week. So I will play Kurt Zouma.

Article continues below

Schurrle & Salah get another chance

“We are going to play against a top team in the Championship. The difference between a top team in the Championship and Premier League teams is very, very small. We played there last season and it was not easy.”

Midfield maestro Cesc Fabregas will be back available after missing Saturday's 2-0 win over Hull through suspension, although it remains to be seen if he replaces either Jon Obi Mikel or Nemanja Matic.

Further forward Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah look likely to get rare starts if Mourinho opts to dabble in a spot of rotation, while Didier Drogba and Loic Remy are both fighting to deputise for Diego Costa.

Remy looks the player in more need of first-team exposure though, so don't be surprised if Drogba is kept on the bench as Chelsea bid to maintain their chance of winning an unprecedented four trophies with minimum fuss.

Chelsea predicted XI to face Derby County: Cech, Filipe Luis, Terry, Zouma, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Fabregas, Schurrle, Oscar, Salah, Remy

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Topics:
Jose Mourinho
Chelsea
Premier League
Football
League Cup

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